Cynthian Society

Cynthian rider olderCynthian society is tribal. A chief and priest together lead each tribe, with the chief administering to the every day needs of his people, and the priest tending to the sacred duties. Cynthia herself chooses each priest by sending a sigh like a sudden geyser of water or bending the grass against the wind when the child is born. Cynthian rider medicine woman 1Furthermore, legends claim priests can invoke the spirit of the plain and cause the land to rise up against intruders. But no outsider has witnessed a priest performing such magic… or at least, no outsider has witnessed it and survived.

The tribe’s members chose the chief, and each tribe had different criteria that depend on the tribe’s current situation. During famine, a wise old man might be chosen chief; during war, a brave young man; and so on. There is no dishonor in stepping down as chief, and it’s not unusual for this to happen if a tribe’s circumstances change dramatically.

Buffalo herd 1Wild horse 1The tribe owns its herd of cattle communally, but the horses are a different matter. Each adult has three horses, and he may never have more horses than this-colts are given to children or adults who have less than three horses. These horses are like a tribesman’s own family, and he treats them accordingly.

Nearly all crimes in Cynthia are punished with exile. Crimes include: spilling Cynthian blood on the plain; theft; or a man not owning any horses. Sometimes a priest simply states Cynthia has exiled the man, usually not because of any crime he committed but for the good of the tribe. The only crime punished with execution-strangulation performed by the victim while two others hold the criminal’s arm-is deliberately killing a man’s horse.

Relationships between tribes are friendly, but guarded; stealing a horse from a man of another tribe is not considered theft, but proof of a warrior’s courage and daring. Strict customs regulate these thefts: a thief can only steal a horse from a man who has more than one (to steal a man’s last horse is punished with exile), and once the thief has returned to his tribe, the horse is his and the victim has no recourse but to accept the loss.

Cynthian rider medicine man 1Cynthian medicine man blessingOn rare occasions, a tribe is possessed by a madness, begins defying the laws of the Cynthians, and must be slain. Cynthians refer to this madness as being snake-wrapped, and attribute it to the Serpentine River and the traders who travel it. The priests, acting as the mouths of Cynthia, declare when a tribe has become snake-wrapped.

Cynthian riderThe Cynthians, both men and women, wear breeches of rough leather with the fur turned inward and a trim left along the seams. Women wear loose tunics; men go shirtless during the summer, but wear similar tunics in cold weather. For weapons they carry heavy bows, slender lances, quarterstaffs and swords, and the Cynthians also trade with the hillmen of the Cold Peaks for new weapons. They wear leather armor and carry a shield of woven sticks covered with a tanned hide. Both men and women braid their long hair, and men style their beards into sharp points with animal fat.

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Cynthian Society

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